Over-The-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

OTC hearing aids are:

  • Approved for ADULTS ONLY- 18 and older (pediatric patients MUST be fit by an audiologist)
  • Indicated for adults with a “perceived” mild to moderate hearing loss
  • Available for purchase in retail stores, online and some medical offices at a reduced cost
  • Do not require a medical examination of the ears by a physician or a hearing exam by an audiologist before using
  • May be a good first step in getting situational hearing help earlier

We highly recommend that you have your ears examined by a physician if you are experiencing hearing loss, ringing in the ears, poorer hearing in one ear, ear pain or drainage. You should also be tested by an audiologist before purchasing an OTC hearing aid to determine your degree of hearing loss. Wearing an OTC hearing aid without having a mild to moderate degree of hearing loss can actually cause hearing damage. Wearing an OTC hearing aid for a mild to moderate loss when you in fact have a greater degree of hearing loss would not be appropriate and lead to an unsatisfactory fit.

OTC hearing aids will be less expensive and less sophisticated than professionally fit hearing aids. One reason for this is that no professional services will be included. You will be responsible for learning how to program, operate and troubleshoot your hearing aids. There will be no scientific verification, Real Ear Measurement, or customization to your ear or hearing thresholds. 

If you wish to receive a diagnostic hearing test, fitting instruction, scientific verification, Real Ear Measurement, counseling on how to wear and adjust to your new OTC hearing aids, you can schedule an appointment with an audiologist for professional help. 

Some medical offices will offer a high quality OTC device directly to their patients. They can be purchased with or without professional instruction included. These devices will be produced by one of the major hearing aid manufacturers and include direct Bluetooth connection to your phone along with rechargeability. 

Professionally fit hearing aids are always a good choice and essential for those who want a higher level of technology implemented by a knowledgeable, educated professional. If you have questions or concerns about any OTC product, contact an audiologist for guidance.